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Homeownership Rankings

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Owning a home is a big financial milestone. Owning your home provides stability and security, granting you ownership and a place to call your own. Unlike renting, homeownership allows individuals to build equity over time, potentially leading to increased wealth. Additionally, owning a home provides a space for personalization and long-term investment opportunities. The pride of ownership and the ability to create roots in a community are also notable advantages associated with homeownership.

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Homeownership

Building equity

With each mortgage payment, you gain an ownership stake in the property. This equity can be a significant source of wealth over time.

Potential for appreciation

Home values often increase over time, meaning your property could be worth more than you paid when you sell.

Stability and control

You have more control over your living environment and can make modifications as desired. Monthly housing costs are typically more predictable compared to renting.

Tax advantages

In many places, homeowners can deduct certain housing expenses from their taxes.

However, homeownership also comes with responsibilities for maintenance and repairs. There can also be upfront costs associated with buying a home.

Ranking Factors

  • Affordability of housing: Median home prices compared to median income.
  • Job market and economy: Employment opportunities and stability of the local economy.
  • Quality of life: Safety, education, healthcare, and community amenities.
  • Home value appreciation: Historical and projected growth in home values.
  • Property taxes and homeowners insurance rates.
  • Housing market trends: Supply and demand dynamics, home sales and inventory levels.
  • Weather and natural disaster risks.
  • Affordability and availability of home insurance.

Local and state government policies wield significant influence in molding the everyday experiences of citizens, impacting education, healthcare, transportation, and more. Countries with high homeownership rates often exhibit a combination of economic policies, cultural values, and historical contexts that encourage the acquisition and retention of personal property. These regions showcase the diverse factors that influence homeownership patterns in various societies.

Eastern Europe vs. Western Europe

Homeownership is more prevalent in Eastern Europe than in Western Europe. Kosovo, Albania, and Romania have over 95% ownership rates, while Germany and Switzerland have the lowest at around 50%. This can be attributed to factors like:

  • Cultural emphasis on homeownership: Homeownership is traditionally seen as a marker of stability and success.
  • Privatization of housing stock after the fall of communism: This made homes more readily available for purchase by citizens.
  • Relatively low housing costs: Compared to Western Europe or North America, housing can be more affordable in this region.

East and Southeast Asia

Some East Asia nations including Taiwan (68%), Japan (64%), China (62%), and Southeast Asians like Vietnamese (64%), and Filipinos (62%) also have high homeownership rates, potentially due to:

  • Government programs:  Japan, for instance, has implemented the Flat 35 mortgage scheme that helps citizens afford down payments and mortgages.
  • Cultural factors: Homeownership can be seen as a way to build wealth and security for the future.

Countries Beyond These Regions

Countries outside these regions also exhibit high rates of homeownership, where government policies have encouraged home buying and some of them are: 

Oceania

In Australia, the quintessential “Australian dream” revolves around owning a house with a backyard, supported by government incentives that particularly benefit first-time buyers. These financial assistance programs benefit diverse groups such as low-income families, Indigenous Australians, and vulnerable individuals. They offer support through initiatives like Home Purchase Assistance, First Home Owner Grant, First Home Super Saver Scheme, and Home Guarantee Scheme. Information is from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) released on April 5, 2023.

Western Europe

Spain’s homeownership rate dipped to 75.30% in 2023, down from 76% in 2022. The country’s average rate stands at 77.83% between 2007 and 2023, hitting a peak of 80.60% in 2007 and a low of 75.10% in 2020 based on EUROSTAT data.

It’s important to note that these are just some possible reasons, and the specific factors driving high homeownership rates can vary between countries.

Focus on Cities with Affordable Housing

StateQ1 2024 Zillow Home Value Index
(ZHVI)
West Virginia$160,044
Mississippi$177,699
Louisiana$198,970
Kentucky$200,661
Arkansas$202,520

Data source: Zillow (2024).

House prices in the euro area decreased by 1.1% while in the European Union, they rose by 0.3% in the fourth quarter of 2023 compared to the same period in 2022.

Housing price statistics – house price index
Additional Tips
  • Look beyond major cities: Bigger cities typically have higher housing costs. Consider smaller towns or suburbs within the same country for better affordability.
  • Research-specific neighborhoods: Within a city, housing prices vary significantly.
  • Factor in cost of living: A lower home price might be offset by higher living costs in other areas (groceries, transportation, etc.).

Focus on Overall Livability

Here are some Asian cities known for their overall livability, combining strong job markets, good schools, and desirable amenities:

Singapore:
  • Job Market: A global financial hub with a thriving tech scene.
  • Schools: Renowned international schools and a strong public education system.
  • Amenities: World-class infrastructure, diverse cultural experiences, and stunning green spaces.
  • Considerations: High cost of living and competitive housing market.
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia:
  • Job Market: Growing economy with opportunities in various sectors like finance and technology.
  • Schools: International schools and a developing public education system.
  • Amenities: Affordable cost of living, rich cultural heritage, and easy access to nature.
  • Considerations: Traffic congestion and some limitations in public transportation.
Osaka, Japan:
  • Job Market: Major economic center with a significant emphasis on manufacturing and technology.
  • Schools: Excellent public education system with a strong international reputation.
  • Amenities: Vibrant food scene, historical sites, and easy access to nearby Kyoto.
  • Considerations: Higher cost of living compared to other Japanese cities and potential language barrier.
Taipei, Taiwan:
  • Job Market: Thriving tech industry and a growing startup ecosystem.
  • Schools: Top-ranked universities and a strong focus on bilingual education.
  • Amenities: Efficient public transportation, delicious street food culture, and beautiful natural surroundings.
  • Considerations: Competitive housing market, particularly in central areas.
Seoul, South Korea:
  • Job Market: Booming tech sector and a strong focus on innovation.
  • Schools: High-performing public education system with emphasis on academic achievement.
  • Amenities: Cutting-edge technology infrastructure, vibrant nightlife, and historical landmarks.
  • Considerations: Long working hours may be a concern for some, and the cost of living continues to rise.
Cebu City, Philippines:
  • Job Market: Growing economy with strong opportunities in IT-enabled services and tourism.
  • Schools: International schools alongside a developing public education system.
  • Amenities: Affordable cost of living compared to other Asian hubs, rich cultural heritage, beautiful beaches, and historical sites.
  • Considerations: Traffic congestion can be an issue, and some areas might have limitations in public transportation.

Remember: This is just a sampling and the “best” city depends on your priorities. Consider factors like industry focus, preferred language of instruction (English is widely spoken in the Philippines), and desired lifestyle.

The difficulty of a universal ranking.

The Importance of Individual Needs in Homeownership. While we’ve explored rankings for cities with high homeownership rates, affordable housing, and strong overall livability, it’s important to remember the limitations of such lists.  Finding the “best” place for homeownership is highly personal.

Universal rankings struggle to capture the unique needs and priorities of each individual.

  • What matters most to you? Is it affordability, job opportunities, access to top schools, cultural attractions, or proximity to family?
  • What’s your lifestyle like? Do you crave bustling city life or a quieter suburban environment?
  • What’s your budget? Consider not just the home price, but also the cost of living factors like groceries and transportation.

Homeownership is a significant investment, and finding the time for the right location will go a long way in ensuring your happiness and success. Focus on your priorities when making this important decision.  Research specific cities and regions that align with your needs and preferences. Don’t be afraid to look beyond the top of any list and consider hidden gems that might be a perfect fit for you.

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